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UBW 30th Anniversary Program
Hep Hep Sweet Sweet
Set in a fictional nightclub, this work is personal portrait drawing upon the music and culture of the Great Migration, as well as Zollar’s memories from that time. This dance/theater work was created in collaboration with dramaturg Talvin Wilks and features live music performed by George Caldwell.
I remember my mother dressing up, putting on Evening in Paris perfume and going out to places in Kansas City named the Orchid Room and the Blue Room. Hep Hep Sweet Sweet is a fictional club - a place of memory, rumor, myths and dreams.
-Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
Walking with 'Trane, Chapter 2
Inspired by John Coltrane’s seminal work A Love Supreme, this work features an original score performed live by Grammy award winning pianist and composer George Caldwell. This work is co-choreographed by Zollar and UBW dancer Samantha Speis.
A solo work choreographed by UBW Associate Artistic Director Maria Bauman that employs UBW’s unique brand of spoken and danced synthesis to share UBW’s 30-year history.
A striking solo by award-winning choreographer Nora Chipaumire, re-imagined as a group piece; an interrogation of how we present and represent the African female body.
I made dark swan in 2005 in an effort to respond and acknowledge contemporary dance’s debt to those Russian masters and their contribution to the art of dance. Michel Fokine‘s “dying swan” (and the phenomenal dancers who have peopled it) allowed me to tap into a known/unknown place. I also made the solo black and African in response to classic white/black swans and to celebrate my mother/African/black women who refuse to wither away and die or die beautifully.
In its short eight years my dark swan has proved itself resilient and malleable, whether being re/gendered for nine men, reassumed by 21 women, and now reimagined by eight women. I am grateful to all the swans (men and women) who have kept this solo relevant for me, to Ananya Chatterjeaa, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, plus the numerous curators/presenters who have allowed this work to shine from St. Petersburg, Russia to Zanzibar, Tanzania. I am grateful to fellow artists Souleymane Badolo, Lacina Coulibaly, and Pia Murray who have assisted me in remounting the work at various times.
- Nora Chipaumire
Blood Muscle Bone: the anatomy of wealth and poverty
Urban Bush Women and Liz Lerman
What does it take for the imagination to change?
How are imagination and experience linked?
How do wealth and poverty affect the body?
How is the allostatic load distributed across race?
How are communities systemically resistant (immune)
to wealth or poverty?
Blood, Muscle, Bone is a performance and residency project conceived of and developed by choreographers Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Liz Lerman whose work is informed by an intense research process involving diverse communities through the lens of cultural equity. Multi-disciplinary in its processes as well as its outcomes, the project examines how wealth and poverty impact the body while asking new questions about how these conditions are defined and imagined. The enduring question of why economic inequality continues with such persistence is an underlying engine of the piece. Seeking to move beyond “compassion fatigue,” the work animates the seemingly intractable crisis of poverty. With a development arc of several years through residencies where creative research, community engagement, and rehearsal hours accumulate for public sharing and performance, the public offerings of Blood, Muscle, Bone might include stage performance, prayer breakfasts, lecture tours, workshops, teacher training, panels, and cabarets. These community-engaged performance events are part of the creative process as well as the creative product of this work.
After years of thinking in common, Liz Lerman and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar began working together in the spring of 2011 on what has become a project entitled, Blood, Muscle, Bone: the anatomy of wealth and poverty. The project has been developed during three residencies to date including Baltimore’s Center Stage, Florida State University in Tallahassee, and the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan; each culminating in performance events, discussions, and workshops.
Photo above by Aubrie Rodriguez
Conceived and created by Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Nora Chipaumire
What is visible? visible is a provocative dance theater work that features a dynamic international cast of 6 from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The work explores issues of displacement and citizenship related to immigration and migration. Produced by Urban Bush Women.
This is a search for depth, a search for story, a search for language, a search for self.
- Jawole Willa Jo Zollar
America as the symbol of freedom, democracy and individuality is a strong point of departure for this collaboration. My own personal search for America has brought confusion, disgust and affirmation. visible attempts to reveal the conflicted nature of my experience, the loneliness of the foreigner, the constant push and pull between homeland and new frontier, demands and allegiances to family and the idea of community versus the individual. These are themes that present themselves or manifest even when uninvited. The mixed gender, mixed race cast reflects my American reality.
- Nora Chipaumire
visible premiered at Harlem Stage in New York City October 12-15, 2011.
visible toured the U.S. in fall 2012.
View visible HERE
Photos above by Julieta Cervantes
This work premiered Jan. 20-23, 2010 at Dance Theater Workshop (now known as New York Live Arts).
Zollar: Uncensored is an evocative journey of Jawole's creative history from 1984 to the present. She chose sections of works that speak to her early investigations into eroticism, sensuality and the reclaiming of the broken parts of the self after trauma. Created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Company, this retrospective is a collage of excerpts that connects to the area of Jawole's work that she eventually abandoned or that was diminished when the full brunt of the Jesse Helms era of censorship frightened presenters and funders. The worst impact of all was that Jawole began to censor herself. Ultimately Zollar: Uncensored is a tribute to all of the women who have been Urban Bush Women.
Funding / Rehearsal Support. The rehearsal of this 25th anniversary retrospective was made possible in part by subsidized rehearsal space at CPR - Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, NY. It was also rehearsed at New 42nd Street Studios. The creation of this work was supported, in part, by public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA).
Photo above by Yi-Chun Wu